A national furor has erupted over a videotaped beating of a four-year-old girl by her mother. The girl is now in foster care while the mother faces criminal charges.
The media coverage echoes a flood of earlier television stories devoted to the kidnapping of young girls. Media coverage of the kidnappings was so extensive that parents began to worry that their children were in imminent danger of being snatched from their homes. But as Ania Zalewski writes in today's Dateline report, the kidnappings of children by strangers have actually been decreasing.